Date: 31 March 2013
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jane Rodgers.
Quail Island was proclaimed a quarantine station on 11 February 1875. The first leprosy patient was Willa Vallane, who was confined to the island in 1906. A second was admitted in 1908, with a third in 1909. By 1925 there were eight patients in residence (a ninth, George Philips, made an escape after having being certified as cured). In that year the eight patients were relocated from Quail Island to a new “leper colony” on Makogai Island in the Pacific.
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For anyone who would like to follow the story of the lepers on Makogai Island, I would recommend ‘Makogai, Image of Hope’ https://www.leprosy.org.nz/shop/books/makogai-image-of-hope/ by Sister Mary Stella. It’s a fascinating account of the leper colony. In addition to this account, readers may be interested in the story of Patrick Twomey who established the Pacific Leprosy Foundation and who had a long association with Christchurch (and the lepers on Quail Island). He is buried at the Bromley cemetery. As Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of NZ, puts it Twomey ‘s ” enduring importance lies in his prominent position in the campaign that virtually eradicated leprosy in most of the Pacific.”